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  • 2.07SWCP  

    Students today are immersed in a globalising world that is marked by rapid scientific and technological growth. As technology advances, we are challenged to collaborate with schools and lead new pedagogical models for learning and teaching, incorporating new technologies in the classroom and providing new learning spaces to meet the needs of students. 

    Theme 2: Quality Teaching for all Learners, Catholic Education Melbourne Strategic Plan 2015–2019 

    Personal Story

     

    Saran Kim
    Year 12 Student, Mater Christi College, Belgrave

    Overview

    The Wellbeing & Community Partnerships Unit is committed to supporting Catholic school communities create welcoming, safe and inclusive learning environments where student wellbeing is embedded at the core of school life.

    Initiatives delivered through the Wellbeing & Community Partnerships Unit seek to foster student engagement, build resilience, strengthen connectedness to school and community, and enhance young people’s sense of belonging.

    Placing a central focus on building the knowledge and professional practice of staff, the Wellbeing & Community Partnerships Unit supports Catholic schools communities to promote the health, wellbeing and engagement of young people to develop optimistic, resilient young people of faith, ready to be effective members of community, contributing to and enriching the world around them. 

    StuWellhands 

    Child Safety

    Initiatives that focus on promoting continuous improvement and innovation in policies and practices, relating to the safety and wellbeing of children and young people are a key priority for Catholic Education Melbourne.

    A range of professional learning was delivered to Student Wellbeing Leaders (SWLs) and school personnel, addressing issues associated with mandatory reporting and child protection. This training used current research, eLearning modules and expert presenters from the Department of Health & Human Services who emphasised the need for organisations to act consistently according to sound child-safe principles.

    The CECV Board established a new CECV Child Safety Working Party in 2015 to provide strategic direction and leadership in the implementation of the new Victorian Child Safe Standards. These standards aim to drive cultural change in organisations so that protecting children from harm and abuse is embedded in everyday thinking and practice. A Catholic Education Melbourne Child Safe Working Party has also been set up to help lead this key work.

    Student voice & VicSRC collaborative partnership

    In 2015, Catholic Education Melbourne developed a collaborative partnership with the Victorian Student Representative Council (VicSRC) to strengthen authentic student engagement opportunities. The initiative reflects a shared commitment to invest in young people as leaders and help drive initiatives that build an authentic student voice and roles of real value in the classroom and school.

    In its first year, notable highlights achieved through the partnerships included:

    • improved communication channels to inform schools about leadership opportunities
    • regional student conference hosted by Antonine College, Pascoe Vale South
    • ‘Teach the Teacher’ training program held at Genazzano FCJ College, Kew
    • Catholic secondary students attending a VicSRC Congress in July
    • the establishment of a Catholic teachers’ network focused on exploring student voice.

    New Master of Education (Student Wellbeing) – Partnership with Australian Catholic University

    Catholic Education Melbourne offered 50 leaders and teachers in the Archdiocese of Melbourne the opportunity to complete sponsored study in a new, two-year Master of Education (Student Wellbeing) at Australian Catholic University (ACU).

    This course is part of Catholic Education Melbourne’s new partnership approach with ACU for delivery of all sponsored professional learning from 2016. 

    Sponsorship in the Master of Education (Student Wellbeing) reflects Catholic Education Melbourne’s commitment to developing systemic and school leadership capacity in prevention and early intervention strategies that support improved student outcomes and strengthen young people’s mental health, resiliency and social emotional wellbeing.

    Family School Partnerships funding

    In 2015, Catholic Education Melbourne committed almost $650,000 over 2016–2017 to extend funding to support Family School Partnerships (FSP) clusters. This latest funding further enabled clusters and school communities to continue leading local action, joint practice and governance to build stronger family and community partnerships to improve student wellbeing and learning outcomes. 

    Catholic Education Melbourne’s financial commitment for 2016 and 2017 was in addition to the strategic cluster support and a unified approach to professional learning delivered though the Wellbeing & Community Partnerships Unit.

    National School Chaplaincy Programme

    The National School Chaplaincy Programme (NSCP) is a four-year Commonwealth funded initiative which aims to support the emotional wellbeing of students through the provision of chaplains/pastoral care workers in Victorian schools. Under the NSCP government, Catholic and independent school sectors received grants of $20,000 per annum to appoint chaplains/pastoral care workers.

    A total of 59 Catholic primary and secondary schools in the Archdiocese of Melbourne successfully received funding in 2015 with one school leader commenting that:

    ‘The NSCP is a wonderful initiative for our students. It assists families and teachers alike ... students

    benefit from having a dedicated person for their needs supporting the wellbeing team.’

    The Wellbeing & Community Partnerships Unit facilitated NSCP school leaders/pastoral care worker briefings and professional learning with Sr Rosalind Cairns MSC presenting a keynote address on ‘pastoral care in a Catholic school context’ in May and Chris Morris a lecturer at the Catholic Theological College exploring meditative practices, Catholic identity and spirituality.

    Other initiatives

    • Student Wellbeing Leaders explored current research associated with teacher wellbeing, self care and positive mental health in May and school, family and community engagement in October.
    • Presentation of the eighth annual Catholic Education Melbourne Student Wellbeing Festival that included creative performances and short films exploring wellbeing themes.
    • School leaders engaged in a conversation with Maggie Farrar (UK) and George Otero (USA) to examine how family, school and community partnerships can support continuous improvement and school effectiveness to transform student outcomes.
    • Professional learning (17 November), facilitated in partnership with headspace, explored a suicide postvention toolkit and an online SAFEMinds resource that promoted early intervention and ways to keep young people safe. Workshops enabled participants to examine the needs of students experiencing emotional distress, depression and self-harm behaviours. 
    • Promotion of National Safe Schools Framework including cybersafety and responsible use of social media.
    • Continued support of eSmart initiative developed through the the Alannah and Madeline Foundation. eSmart is designed to help schools improve cybersafety and reduce cyberbullying and bullying.
    • Catholic schools engagement in the National Day of Action Against Bullying & Violence in March.
    • Wellbeing & Learning it’s not Rocket Science professional learning co-planned and presented with Catholic Education Melbourne Regional Office staff to reflect the requirements associated with the Australian Curriculum General capabilities.
    • Schools engaged in the 2015 Community Arts to explore how the arts can be used as a vehicle to create greater dialogue between families, their school and the local community to enhance wellbeing outcomes for young people.
    • Ongoing development of the Catholic Education Melbourne online critical incidents response tool and resources.
    • Partnership with the Victorian Catholic Schools Parent Body (VCSPB) to explore parent advocacy and engagement in Catholic school communities.

    Professional Learning Programs

    These courses provide students with a range of units of study including Social Justice, Identity and Curriculum and Leading Change for Student Wellbeing focusing on the educator’s role in leading and promoting student mental health, resiliency and wellbeing.

    Course & Institution Primary Secondary Other Total
    Master of Education Student Wellbeing, the University of Melbourne 15 31 1 47
    SAFEMinds 36     36 
    Wellbeing & Learning: it’s not Rocket Science       61  
    NSCP professional learning in May         62
    Child Safety Mandatory Reporting – 21 May 2015       35 
    Total        

    List of key events

    Catholic Education Melbourne Student Wellbeing Festival (15–18 & 22 June 2015)

    Thirty-seven Catholic schools and more than 1,000 students showcased their amazing talents through drama and creation of short films promoting positive and inclusive relationships; anti-bullying strategies; resilience; pro-active decision making; help-seeking behaviour; positive school culture and partnerships.

    StuWell38 

    Students perform at the annual Student Wellbeing Festival

    Student Wellbeing Leaders Seminar (7 May 2015)

    Maximising the influence of the Student Wellbeing Leader’s role: A strengths-based approach to your wellbeing. Keynote Presenter: Elizabeth Freeman, the University of Melbourne.

    Student Wellbeing Leaders Seminar (15 October 2015)

    Transformative Communities: Dialogue, discernment and new frontiers in school – family engagement. Keynote Presenters: Danielle Cronin, Deputy Director, National Catholic Education Commission, Sydney & Sharon Butler, Consultant, Silent Partners, Melbourne.

    National School Chaplaincy Programme (26 May 2015)

    Pastoral care in a Catholic school context. Keynote Presenter: Sr Rosalind Cairns, MSC.

    National School Chaplaincy Programme (20 October 2015)

    Meditative practices, Catholic identity and spirituality. Keynote Presenter: Chris Morris, Lecturer, Catholic Theological College

    Leading school, family partnerships (11 June 2015)

    Maggie Farrar (UK: consultant, author and former Director of Leadership Development, Research and Succession Planning at the National College for School Leadership) & Dr George Otero (USA: consultant, author Director of the Center for Relational Learning Santa Fe, New Mexico).

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